Drifting Down the Stream

Keri R.’s recent post made me think of stream of consciousness writing. I was taught about that in my junior English class in high school, and after I moved away right before my senior year, my best friend and I sent each other stream-of-consciousness letters. We sometimes took it to extremes with run-on sentences that took up a whole page. 🙂

Stream of consciousness is actually my natural state of being. I’m told that some people are actually able to blank their brains and think of nothing. I suspect it might be a myth, but there’s no way to know for sure. It’s at its worst in the shower, where I can start with planning my morning and cycle through politics, current events, football, and financial concerns, and wind up on a memory from 20 years ago that I just can’t shake.

It’s a state of being I admit I don’t like that much. It can take me down some dark roads, and it just never stops. My favorite way to keep it at bay is to listen to podcasts, mostly football focused. Though I LOVE Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy interviews, and Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs, has a short one called The Way I Heard It that’s reminiscent of Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story.

Now I miss Paul Harvey. That guy really knew how to hold your attention.

The podcasts don’t always work. My mind can wander even when I’m listening, usually triggered by something someone says that I can’t argue with because they can’t hear me. That’s frustrating. Of course, it probably keeps my relationships intact. I’m a soul-deep devil’s advocate, and it can frustrate anyone who spends too much time with me.

SOC writing can be good for brainstorming a plot. One of my writer friends is a huge mind-mapper. Mind-mapping is like a focused SOC session. I’m not a plotter, but I find that technique helpful when I need to deepen my GMC. (Goal, motivation, and conflict for you non-writers. 🙂 )

SOC’s ideal use is probably journaling. It’s funny, as SOC as my brain is naturally, when it comes to writing—whether an e-mail, a blog post, a journal entry, or fiction—things change. I expected this post to be really SOC, jumping from topic to topic like Keri’s did, but it didn’t. It hewed to structure, with a few tangents (hello, Paul Harvey!). So I guess my left brain is connected to my fingers, while my right brain is free-floating.

(Did I get that right? I never remember which is which, since I land right in the middle.)

So how about you? Stream of consciousness or sticking to topic? Blank brain, or Energizer-bunny brain? Left or right brained? 🙂